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Enablement Spotlight: How to Define Your Enablement Scope

Each month, Stephanie Middaugh, Director of Enablement at WorkRamp, shares her expertise, from fresh ideas on new enablement strategies to actionable tips to implement at your organization. In this month’s post, Stephanie shares her strategies to define the enablement scope at your organization and establish standard operating procedures for your team.

“Can enablement take this on?” That’s a question I hear a lot! Sometimes, enablement is perceived as a catch-all for any projects related to supporting sales and revenue functions within an organization. The problem is, since enablement professionals are passionate about helping revenue teams succeed, without focus and vision, they may end up biting off more than they can chew trying to meet everyone’s needs. 

Since enablement is a relatively new discipline, it can look very different from one organization to the next. The size of the enablement team can vary widely between companies—and the maturity and experience of the team can be all over the map. That’s why it’s crucial to define the scope of your enablement team early and revisit it regularly to set clear expectations with your team members, other divisions, and stakeholders throughout your company.

Here are some best practices for defining the scope of enablement in your organization: 

Determine your areas of focus

At WorkRamp, enablement has three focus areas: training, productivity, and people. Defining the scope of our work helps to guide conversations with stakeholders. While most enablement organizations help with onboarding and ongoing professional development, not all help with email sequence templates. You need to communicate this ahead of time to the teams you support to set expectations and avoid misunderstandings.

One of the things that I’ve learned throughout my career is that it’s essential to define what management is responsible for versus what services and support enablement provides. Usually, this is a question of scale. Is it a one-to-one interaction that’s required, or is it one-to-many? For example, the revenue team may have three or thousands of reps, depending on the organization. So whatever enablement is working on should be scalable across—and relevant to—the entire organization, not just a few individuals. 

Another problem I have encountered pertains to content creation: managers often must work alongside the enablement team to create the content because they’re usually subject matter experts on the tools and strategies their team employs. Often, managers assume that since you’re in charge of training, you already have all the information you need to develop the materials—but that’s rarely the case. So clearly defining what enablement handles and what managers should be responsible for not only helps to ensure your team stays focused on the right priorities, it yields better results. 

Commit your vision statement to writing

Here’s the vision statement for my team at WorkRamp:

The enablement team at WorkRamp is focused on creating a cutting-edge and innovative enablement function to support our internal revenue-generating employees and drive scalable revenue growth. By providing the skills, knowledge, assets, and process expertise to all customer-facing roles, our reps can ultimately maximize every buyer or customer interaction.

Additionally, we aim to set the standard for best practices in the enablement field to provide our prospects and customers a best-in-class department example. 

This is just one example of a vision statement—you will need to write yours to reflect your focus areas and unique corporate culture. The important thing is to define in layman’s terms the purpose and charter of your team. 

This vision statement provides a North Star to lead the way, which is particularly important when your team feels overwhelmed with requests and has trouble prioritizing work. If there’s ever a question about whether you should provide help or support in response to a request, referring back to the vision statement and your clearly defined focus areas helps you assess whether to take on the work or explain that it’s out of enablement’s scope. 

Put guardrails in place and establish a standard operating procedure

Once managers discover how valuable the enablement function is, they may start to overuse it. That’s why it’s critical to put guardrails in place. One way to do this is by allotting a certain number of hours to each team you support. For example, suppose you allocate 20 hours per month for a specific division of the revenue organization; the manager will need to prioritize the tasks that are most critical for success. Using this strategy also helps to ensure that all the teams enablement supports are getting equal time and attention. 

It’s also essential to ensure that your team isn’t fielding random requests. To that end, make sure you put a standard operating procedure in place to provide structure and help set expectations for when work can be completed. If you don’t have clear boundaries, you can easily end up spinning your wheels doing work that doesn’t add value.

Of course, business needs change, so it’s important to revisit your areas of focus, vision statement, and operating procedures regularly to ensure they align with key business initiatives and goals.

Pave a clear path to value

How long should the process of defining the scope for enablement take? Not long—maybe a week, and it should involve the entire team and any key stakeholders that enablement’s work will directly impact. But it’s worth the effort—having a clearly defined scope will simplify tough conversations and help keep your team on track and focused on the most valuable, revenue-generating projects. 

Ultimately, enablement aims to increase productivity, efficiency, and, of course, revenue. If you look back at what you’ve accomplished, you should be able to see the impact your work has had on the organization. If you can’t, that’s a challenging conversation with upper management. Defining your scope and vision from the get-go will protect your team’s bandwidth and help them focus their efforts on the tasks and projects that will provide maximum value and have the most significant positive impact on your organization. 

We’d love to hear about the enablement trends you’re seeing in 2022. Send me a message on my LinkedIn page to share your thoughts and keep the conversation going! 

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